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PCOS and Tampons: It’s Time To Switch To Safety

For women with PCOS, heavy, erratic menstruation can be a classic symptom. In this respect, both tampons and pads appear to be a godsend, making life easier… but at what cost to our health and the environment? (Clue:  PCOS and tampons can be a dangerous mix!)

The truth about these hygiene products is that they’re loaded with heavy metals and toxic chemicals. These can contribute to infertility, wreak havoc on an already struggling hormone system, and contribute to PCOS herself.

Let’s take a deeper look at why women should avoid the vast majority of pads and tampons.

Mercury

Ever since the phrase “mad hatter” was coined, people have considered touching or dealing with mercury as unsafe, toxic and something that induces madness[1].

In spite of this, industrial science has gone on to use Mercury in a surprising array of products, from tampons to vaccines.

Due to its highly toxic profile, mercury was banned in the pesticides used to spray food crops way back in 1969. However, it is still widely used today in fungicides for textile crops such as cotton and bamboo[2].

Considering these materials commonly form a major constituent in tampons (and pads), this means women are exposing their privates to mercury, as well as any other heavy metals these crops are sprayed with.

If that isn’t already enough, let’s talk about some of the harmful effects of mercury:

  1. Inhibits Follicular Growth – When mercury was injected into the ovaries of female hamsters, it inhibited and actually retarded follicular growth[3]. Yes, I know. We’re not in the habit of injecting our ovaries. Yet this information is striking given the multiple ovarian cysts of PCOS are actually immature follicles.
  2. Disrupts Hormones – Not surprisingly, female rats that inhaled mercury vapour experienced toxicity, rapid weight loss, and disruptions in their hormones and menstrual cycle[4].
  3. Causes Miscarriage and Infertility – It is suggested that mercury in combination with lead will cause miscarriage, congenital malformations and outright infertility[5] [6]. Lead is a common heavy metal found in pesticides and industrial waste.
  4. Inflicts Cellular and Genetic Damage – In studies on sea creatures, mercury-induced lesions and DNA damage to multiple body organs[7]. Part of the damage included the destruction of follicles and the plasma lining the uterus.
  5. Accumulates in the Ovaries – Skin exposure to mercury through cream use showed that this dangerous toxin accumulates in the ovaries[8]. The researchers noted the mercury accumulation may result in ovarian failure. Sound familiar?

Given the destructiveness of this metallic toxin, we women need to find alternatives to the traditional and readily available tampon brands and pads. As an important aside, we’re also well placed to eliminate sources of mercury around the house as well (such as non-organic cotton clothing or toxic cleaning agents).

Whitening Agents

Natural cotton and other textiles are never the pristine white colour that you find in pads or tampons. To achieve this effect, manufacturers use whitening agents, which double as disinfectants, such as bleach.

Another name for bleach is chlorine or more specifically, sodium chlorite.

Sodium Chlorite was found to deplete glutathione from red blood cells, which resulted in excessive hydrogen peroxide production[9].

Without glutathione, the mitochondria can no longer create energy and have a harder time protecting themselves or the body from oxidative stress. If you’ve read my book Conquer Your PCOS Naturally you’ll understand how damaging this it.

Mitochondria also play a vital roll in our immune function, helping to ease inflammation and detoxify the body.

In a study carried out on women with PCOS, low levels of glutathione were found, as well as increased levels of hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage[10]. Hydrogen peroxide is also known to cause cancer through DNA damage, especially when it comes into contact with heavy metals[11] (such as the ones found in female hygiene products)!

Interestingly, increased levels of free testosterone were directly proportionate to DNA strand break down. This reveals a direct correlation between PCOS, hydrogen peroxide and oxidative stress.

Many manufacturers of female hygiene products started to accept that bleach was toxic, so they began to opt for “safer” whitening options instead… such as hydrogen peroxide itself. As a nasty aside from the negative side effects mentioned, hydrogen peroxide has been shown to create warts[12], specifically the genital kind.

Xenoestrogens

When I think of PCOS and tampons, this issue is one that immediately springs to mind! Xenoestrogens are a group of oestrogen mimicking substances that interfere with our hormonal and reproductive systems[13]. In women, this can significantly contribute to the onset of PCOS[14], breast and ovarian cancer[15] [16], as well as infertility.

As noted in a study published in Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica:

Epidemiological and experimental data speak in favour of environmental oestrogen’s to be one cause for the development of polycystic ovaries, being the most important reason for female infertility in the human. (1)

Here are two of the main xenoestrogens found in female hygiene products:

  • Dioxins are toxic xenoestrogens released during the bleaching process[17]. This compound is known to cause cancer, damaged immune function, and create reproductive problems. Bamboo and cotton fibres are bleached during manufacture, as is the paper used to make the applicator as well.
  • Bisphenol A disrupts the endocrine system[18] and is another plastic compound commonly found lining tampon applicators and pads. There is increasing evidence to show that Bisphenol S and any other bisphenol compounds are equally as toxic[19].

PCOS and tampons

The safe alternative to the issues around PCOS and tampon use

Not only are the above toxic products harming our fertility, but they contribute to the destruction of our planet’s ability to birth too.

Switching to the Moon Cup

Instead of using and throwing away an average of 10 000+ tampons or pads in your lifetime, you only need to use 1-2 moon cups, which last an average of 10-15 years.

Moon cups are made from silicon and do not have toxic side effects or promote infections[20]. They also do not cause cuts or wounds like sanitation products may.

In one quick switch over to the moon cup, you can support your ovaries, health, your wallet and our planet.

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